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Should you be bending software into wine shape?

Should you be bending software into wine shape or going a de-risked route, of a core business platform that’s specific to the business of wine?

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Software as a Service (SaaS) should be a great thing. It reduces cost of ownership, improves availability and security, keeps you up to date with the latest version, gives you access to road-tested new features and makes the notion of obsolete software obsolete! No more 8-10 year reinvestment cycles.

As software authors and providers have re-engineered for SaaS and make their older platforms obsolete, the pressure is on businesses to carry on with unsupported systems or bite the bullet and move.

ERP frameworks (stands for enterprise resource planning which in plain non-tech English means ‘the software that runs your business’)  and generic WMSs (warehouse management systems) are typically proposed by software houses as the way to go.

The world’s largest software vendors make a fortune from these one-size-fits-all frameworks in license fees, precisely because they’re supposedly easily configurable for any and every business. 

Except they’re not. Configuration quickly turns into customization. Customization turns into compromise. Compromise involves changing the way you run your business to fit in with global concepts of best practise. But best practise for a warehouse storing CPG products isn’t the ideal way to run a fine wine warehouse.

Software houses brim full of developers (who love coding more than configuring) like these ERP frameworks too because they can charge large sums and the configuration that becomes customization (that’s coding) turns the development cycle into an open check.

Meanwhile the software house’s business analysts are meant to grasp your business specificities in depth; at a level of granularity sufficient to enable a comprehensive business and technical specification to be formed. Except they rarely get into enough detail, because they don’t always know what question to ask relative to wine, or you forgot to mention something you considered so obvious that it wasn’t worth explicitly describing. 

So what’s the difference between configuration (in scope) and customization (out of scope)? It’s called scope creep, which is a deployment team’s way of saying it’s your fault (that’s right you, the customer) for not being precise enough in the first place. After all, you’re the one who “keeps changing the spec” and who “got bits wrong”.

ERP frameworks want to do everything. That would typically include accounting, marketing (CRM), e-commerce and so on. It would also include the functions you need to operate within your market, and it’s these that end up compromised and limiting your scope for business development.

Think about it: is a dedicated accounting system like Sage, Quickbooks or Xero like to be better or worse than an accounting function that’s part of an all-singing (but not necessarily dancing) ERP? Are specialist accounting businesses likely to be more complete, adaptable, quicker and cheaper to set up than an ERP? You bet. 

The thing is, in these halcyon days of APIs and web services, connecting best-of-breed platforms together is a lot easier than it used to be and enables you to pick the best of the bunch. Sure connectivity costs a bit, but it’s a small price worth paying to get the best set up for your needs. That set up would include core business functionality that’s specifically fit for your business, integrated with general business functions like accounting, marketing and e-commerce that are best of breed.

So back to the question: should you be bending software into wine shape or going a de-risked route, of a core business platform that’s specific to the business of wine?  That knows wine because it’s underpinned with one of the world’s best referential wine databases and associated rich content (and structured appropriately). That reflects and helps to redefine wine industry best practise. That streamlines processes rather than demands you conform to a generic high-level concept of best practise.

As one of our customers said to us recently: “we don’t want to adapt to software – we want it to adapt to us”. 

Bottle and glass of wine in shadow

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Data integrity in the fine wine market

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Featured

Data integrity in the fine wine market

The fine wine market suffers from poor data management and a lack of standardization of product descriptions.

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Visualisation of wine data

The fine wine market suffers from poor data management and a lack of standardization of product descriptions. The practical negative effects are many:

  1. A cause for private clients to think they have stored wines different to their actual stocks, resulting in the contingent liability of future claims on merchants and storage providers, not to mention loss of goodwill.
  2. Future mis-picks that have a cost to merchants operating private client reserves/ storage services and to storage businesses that suffer unrecoverable costs associated with redeliveries.
  3. A cause of trades that end up being cancelled due to incorrect wine descriptions, or due to insufficient detail (and lack of clarity), wasting time and in some cases causing compensation to be paid out to buyers.
  4. The potential impact on insurance premiums if claims are made to cover a liability.

Efforts have been made to create standards notably Liv-ex’s LWIN schema that aims to create an ISBN equivalent unique identifier, to help with systems interoperability. 

All such efforts are to be welcomed and do help, specifically when the data schema is open source.  Trade participants expect there to be certainty around continued open and free access to the base referential record, so unique identifiers are only likely to be adopted wholesale when they are freely available under terms that guarantee ongoing free community use. Open source unique identifiers can be monetised by information providers in the additional information that is connected to it, such as pricing, producer information, labels, other imagery, drinking windows, trend data and analysis.

Using unique identifiers to share product information between suppliers, and to recognize purchased or inbound wine correctly is helpful when wine names of the same producer and between producers with similar names is helpful.

Nevertheless it’s only half the answer. Fine wines do not inbound with industry standard barcodes, and wine still needs to be landed correctly. Team members typically charged with handling arrivals have some knowledge but are rarely experts. Variances between purchase orders and delivered wine are common. So an efficient landing wine process that improves accuracy of landing is essential.

Coming from a background in customer relationship management (CRM), data processing, and creating single customer views that draw on data from multiple internal and external databases, it was obvious that the challenges of name and address processing are not dissimilar to wine product name processing, albeit with some significant methodological adjustments required.

Best practice in wine warehouse management therefore starts with implementing an efficient workflow for receiving and identifying wine in conjunction with an underlying reference database and fit for purpose data processing.

Best practice data management essentials:

  • Properly structured data model that specifically designed for wine records, with a referential database and associated wine information related to each product reference.
  • Validation of all data fields at time of input as much as is practicable.
  • Wine-specific matching technology (with suitable ETL tools).

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Tariffs to hurt the fine wine market and how to mitigate their effect

From 18th October French, Spanish, German and UK wines were subjected to a 25% import tariff on wines less than 14° alcohol by volume (ABV). That lets off much of Spanish output and hotter Mediterranean regions.

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From 18th October French, Spanish, German and UK wines were subjected to a 25% import tariff on wines less than 14° alcohol by volume (ABV). That lets off much of Spanish output and hotter Mediterranean regions.

Wine has got caught up the long running trade dispute between Airbus and Boeing – each accusing the other of being heavily subsidized – so it’s no surprise that countries that make bits of Airbus planes have been specifically targeted. The US side is quoted as saying they will “continually re-evaluate these tariffs based on our discussions with the EU”, suggesting they expect to use this tactically in negotiations. But for now it’s hard to see much movement before the World Trade Organization (WTO) hears the EU’s reciprocal complaint next spring. 

With Toulouse the center of Airbus operations, it’s easy to conclude the choice of ABV threshold aims to hurt France particularly hard. 

Unfortunately the impact on US small and specialist importer businesses is likely to be equally painful. There really wasn’t much time to act after the announcement of tariffs and the deadline. Even if they’d had longer, there’s only so much free cash that will have allowed you to ship over as many pallets or containers of wine as possible before the 18th October deadline (and by all accounts there was indeed a veritable tsunami of wine that made it over in time).

What if you’re a specialist with a niche in Jura, the Loire and Germany? Are your customers going to pay 25%+ more? Almost certainly not, so that means either absorbing as much as possible and/or asking your European suppliers to take a hit. There are obvious risks to both of those tactics beyond the short-term. Anything beyond the short term is going to feel existential – how long can I keep gong for and will my producers still be there for me when it’s all over?

If there’s a ray of hope, it’s that many wines from recent vintages may well be exempt given the torrid summers of 2018 and 2019 that pushed many wines to 14° ABV or above, even in Burgundy, but that’s small consolation for producers and importers of fine wines favoring elegance and freshness over power and muscle.

As for 2017 futures, paid for by customers, and now physical, I have never seen so many orders parceled up, cling-filmed and waiting to be picked up as I did in the first week of October in Burgundy. It was a race to get the wines into a US port before October 18th. Even so, some will have missed the deadline, logistics needing time to organize.

Will top producers in blue-chip regions adapt their product to meet exemptions as some pundits have suggested? I’d expect not, since producers have been progressively moving away from the modern styles of the last 20 years, and finding that finesse and complexity pays dividends with critics and their core consumer base. Anyway it would be pretty dumb to respond to the tactical use of tariffs in this way, since it could all change again come the summer.

So what to do? Believe it or not, there are a couple of moves you can make that ought to play out well at the top end of the wine market.

  1. Sell wines with longevity as tariff-busting futures, and store them for your customers in Europe for a while until the tariff wars blow over. Storage is cheaper in Europe than in the States, and there are storage options for you all over Europe, from Gibraltar (brand new and inside the Rock!) to Denmark in the north. These are import tariffs; so if you don’t import you don’t get clobbered.
  2. Add value to customer relationships with online access to wines purchased lying overseas, providing a sense of proximity and reinforcing ownership. White labeling client access to stored wines extends your brand into collection building and tracking, and puts you in a great position to better understand your customers and earn a greater share of wallet.

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How wine tech can help you win new customers and keep them happy (and make you happy too)

Should you be bending software into wine shape?

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How wine tech can help you win new customers and keep them happy (and make you happy too).

What sort of things can tech help you do to put you in pole position, and provide an effective framework to execute your value-based, customer-centric business proposition?

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How many emails with merchant offers do you imagine your clients receive every day?

I counted 36 emails the other day from 24 retailers, which admittedly is in the midst of the 2018 en primeur Bordeaux season, but if I’m getting that many as a dyed-in-the-wool collectors of long standing, so have many other of your top customers.

Part of the trouble lies with your customers. 

We are a fickle lot; flitting here and there in search of those precious allocations and finds (Burgundy, Piedmont, rare Rhones, ancient Riojas and cult Californian). If not searching for scarce gems, we’re comparing prices of classified Bordeaux and expecting to buy at the best market price.

The account management model that delivers personal service and pre-empts an avid collector’s every move is expensive and barely touches the sides of the glass for the largest proportion of your customers – the 97% with whom you can’t hope to build a relationship.

Your biggest customers are clear-cut – they buy the most from you (until one day maybe they don’t). But there are thousands of transactions in your database relating to huge buyers who spend very little with you. Where are the clues? Perhaps in the nature of what they once bought; was it ready to drink or for laying down? Did it get delivered out to someone else’s storage service? 

So it’s pretty obvious that there is a world of opportunity that requires your engagement with customers you don’t know very well, and equally obvious an account management model won’t cut it if you want an unfair, whopping slice of the pie.

So how do you engage with them? Sending more emails probably won’t change the dynamic. Remember how many they are getting daily from your competitors?

However you do it, the starting point is to build a customer relationship management strategy, for example:

  • Envision a future that fits with your core values and your customer needs
  • Build a promise around added value
  • Make it actionable

So what sort of things can tech help you do to put you in pole position, and provide an effective framework to execute your value-based, customer-centric business proposition?

  • What could be more attractive than a supplier who demonstrates they want to get to know their customer? That means finding out about what they like and what they own. 
  • Connect the databases that are core to your business. If your inventory is in storage, and you’re periodically updating from CSV files into spread sheets, and rekeying into your website, you will make mistakes. Disappointment is corrosive to customer relationships.
  • By the way, don’t just join it up, bring it all to life too! That means inject your wine list with rich content and information that will inform and enthuse your customers.
  • Fine out what they think, and record those preferences so you can make them actionable.
  • Provide them the means to re-engage with the wines they’ve bought with you. 
  • Invite them to catalogue other wines they have stored elsewhere or at home so they can see can a 360 degree view – but so can you – what could be better? Now you have a full picture of every customer.
  • Show them current values, drinking windows, critics reviews, other wines from the same region or commune, enable them to see what their collection looks like in the round.
  • Provide them a means to sell their wines if they want to, whether our trading exchange, your e-commerce or brokerage list, or auction.  
  • Make it transparent: your customers will love it if you put them in control and give them the ability to draw their own insights and conclusions.
  • Understand why they want to sell and build a plan to restock, reshape or simply make it the most satisfying and informed process ever. 
  • Customers hate it when a wine goes on a brokerage or consigned list, doesn’t sell, and they don’t hear anything or get any meaningful updates. Just showing them a statement that a wine of theirs is still for sale (and by implication isn’t in demand or is worth less than you suggested) is not meaningful communication!
  • Make it easy and convenient. Did you know most wine collectors will pay a premium for convenience? That means making it simple to do the things they want to do (and you want to help them to do). 

So can you afford to do it? 

Only you can do the math!

Figure out the value of a typical customer over 1, 2 and 3 years. Think about how many you’re going to reactivate, what proportion will spend more than before, how many you’ll now retain as customers who may have left, and the income arising from winning new ones over with the package of promises on offer.

Now, don’t go and try to do it all yourself from scratch, or because the software house down the road has told you how little they can do it for. Don’t believe them! The road to hell is paved with best intentions, but they can hurt your business.  

Bending generic business systems into shape for your wine business will take longer, is riddled with necessary compromise and will cost you a lot more than the budget set aside.  Software should not dictate the future of your business, that’s your job. It should be there to make you and customers happy and fulfilled.

Read more: Solutions for wine merchants

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The Wine Cellarage in New York transforms business offering with SaaS fine wine management

Storage customers of The Wine Cellarage (TWC) can now go online to view, track and explore their fine wines in storage and can also catalogue their wines stored at home.

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Customers of The Wine Cellarage can now go online to view, track and explore their fine wines in storage. They can also catalogue their wines stored at home.

Moreover storage clients are now able to offer their wines for sale directly on winecellarage.com themselves with full price discovery to help them select a suitable selling price.

The Wine Cellarage - Offer a wine for sale screen

The Wine Cellarage selected Wine Owners’ Software as a Service (SaaS) as the only fine wine specific solution for warehouse management, integrated with online collection management. The fact it also provided an integrated workflow for compliant trading proved attractive.

A large reference database of 350,000 product entries underpins the whole platform to improve all aspects of fine wine management. It makes operations more accurate and saves time.

“Thanks to Wine Owners we’re now in a different world with our warehouse operation compared with our previous system”, explained Lars Neubohn, President of TWC . “It’s the difference between a pizza shop and a 3* Michelin restaurant.”

After just two months, TWC’s new platform is unlocking plenty of new demand within the existing storage base of private clients who have responded positively to being able to control the selling process. They can make informed choices thanks to the market transparency, convenience and simplicity that TWC’s new platform provides them. 

The Wine Cellarage my wines overview

“We’re speaking to clients we’ve not heard from for years” continued Mr Neubohn, “while others have been inspired to discuss selling a proportion of their sought-after bottles. Clients are now asking us to inventory home cellars so that they can see everything they own in a single view and can start to adopt a more active approach to managing their fabulous collections.” 

Wine Owners’ warehouse management system, inventorying tools and class-leading online collection management are being used to track over $1bn of wine worldwide

“We are thrilled to be working with Lars and his team at The Wine Cellarage and to be recognised as having created the best fine wine management platform in the world” said Nick Martin, CEO of Wine Owners. “Our Software as a Service solution is capable of managing a complex warehouse environment and providing wine businesses’ consumers with everything they need.”

Read more: Solutions for Wine Storage Companies

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The Wine Cellarage switches WMS

The Wine Cellarage not only sells the best wines in the world but can store your valuable wine collection at our world class facility located in the heart of New York City.

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The Wine Cellarage not only sells the best wines in the world but can store your valuable wine collection at their world class facility located in the heart of New York City.

In 2018 the company’s President bit the bullet, moved off a cross-industry, generic warehouse management system (WMS) in favour of a whole new wine management platform – integrating a fit for purpose warehouse management designed specifically for wine with world-class collection management and a self-directed workflow that makes offering wine for sale infinitely easier for storage clients. The results have been transformational.

The Wine Cellarage selected Wine Owners to upgrade their service offering within their New York City fine wine storage business.

Read more: The Wine Cellarage in New York transforms business offering with SaaS fine wine management

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The Wine Cellarage

The Wine Cellarage selected Wine Owners in 2018 to upgrade their service offering within their New York City fine wine storage business.

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The Wine Cellarage selected Wine Owners in 2018 to upgrade their service offering within their New York City fine wine storage business.

As a storage business and e-commerce retailer, they identified opportunities for integrating aspects of the two lines of business in order to create new customer propositions.

Like many other wine warehouses, The Wine Cellarage had previously used a generic warehouse management system (WMS) that had been adapted as much as it was possible to the fundamentals of their business. However they concluded that in order to upgrade their overall business offering, they needed a platform that was capable of upgrading their wine storage operations, and of connecting their business operations more tightly with their clients.

Requirements

The Wine Cellarage was looking for a platform that would facilitate accurate landing of wines, and make better use of warehouse space.

A platform that would provide their clients with a depth of information in respect of their stored wines sufficient to inform their drinking and collection management decisions.

Provide their clients with tools to catalogue and organise their wines stored elsewhere.

Offer an easy process for offering wine for sale stored at The Wine Cellarage.

Solution

A comprehensive warehouse management system (WMS) engineered from the ground-up for fine wine.

World-class collection management integrated with the WMS giving The Wine Cellarage’s clients real-time access to their stored wines, related information and associated services for price discovery, valuation and sales.

Complete collection management for wine stored in any location has provided the platform to deliver services that enable The Wine Cellarage to review entire collections for their clients.

A self-service brokerage work flow, integrated with ecommerce, that makes it easy for clients with stored wines to offer them for sale, with sophisticated price discovery to give clients the market data upon which to arrive at informed pricing decisions.

Improved efficiency and accuracy in warehouse – such as in the landing of wine, in inspecting and condition recording, consolidation of packs, and flexible billing rules in support of acquisition and marketing initiatives.

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Western Carriers

US-based Western Carriers is home to over 300 importers, wholesalers, restaurant groups, and retailers of wine and spirits. The private client storage subsidiary called The Wine Vault @ Western is specialised and solves the storage and logistics needs of discerning collectors with accounts ranging from 20 cases stored to 15,000 cases.

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US-based Western Carriers is home to over 300 importers, wholesalers, restaurant groups, and retailers of wine and spirits. 

The northern New Jersey facilities span 2.2 million sq feet, comprises about 93.5k SKUs, and 7.5 million cases of wine. 

The private client storage subsidiary called The Wine Vault @ Western is specialised and solves the storage and logistics needs of discerning collectors with accounts ranging from 20 cases stored to 15,000 cases. 

Requirements

  • Improve online access and information provision, including the valuation of collections.
  • Simplify the internal processes of receiving and shipping wine for private clients.
  • Bring greater transparency to client collections with inspection photography of inbound wines and parameterised descriptions of condition.
  • Fully integrate client-facing systems with the existing warehouse management and billing background systems that were developed in-house.
  • Bring consistency to the wine database, aid accuracy of data wine entry and deliver effective online reporting options.
  • Enable Nest Egg clients to choose their own display names.
  • Simplify outbound delivery requests in support of industry-leading KPIs.
  • Support an enhanced client offering with world-class collection management.

White label Solution

Online collection management

The new white label platform enables Nest Egg clients to enjoy ‘best of breed’ collection management, to see a wealth of information against their wines, and to request deliveries by the case or bottle. Providing a complete reserves management and wine information solution, including the ability to use the platform to track wines stored elsewhere, reinforces the quality ethos of Nest Egg and engenders trust.

Tablet with wine portfolio view, pie chart, breakdown by region

Win over new fine wine storage clients

Nest Egg are ideally placed to win over those collectors who will be encouraged to consider professional storage thanks to the transparency and confidence that sophisticated online access and reporting provides.

Warehouse integration

The solution includes deep integration with Western Carriers’ background warehousing systems, bringing substantial internal efficiencies to the landing of client stock.

Improve landing of fine wine

Efficiencies aside, Nest Egg’s fine wine storage solution has a very precise set of service requirements, including the possibility of landing of each carton of wine with full disclosed details of bottle and case condition, and the ability to show bottle by bottle contents within mixed cartons.  

Wine data accuracy

Improving the landing of wines into the Western carriers warehouse for Nest Egg clients also serves to enhance the accuracy and consistency of the wine names entered, in part thanks to a referential database of wine names and details, which in turn improves the client experience and ensures the correct wine is always delivered on demand.

Read more: Solutions for Wine Storage Companies

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KNIGHT FRANK – The Wealth Report 2019

From geopolitical shifts to luxury spending trends, The Wealth Report 2019 brings together the latest intelligence and the sharpest insights into the issues that matter most to the world’s wealthy.

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From geopolitical shifts to luxury spending trends, The Wealth Report 2019 brings together the latest intelligence and the sharpest insights into the issues that matter most to the world’s wealthy.

We have specific interest in the report’s wine investment section, of course. This section rests strongly on data from the Knight Frank Fine Wine Investment Index (KFFWII), a custom-built index created by Wine Owners for Knight Frank in 2015. This index of 200 investment-grade wines has provided Knight Frank with detailed market data for the past four Wealth Reports.

The trend towards ultra high net worth individuals to place the thickening discretionary fringe of their wealth into tangible assets has grown substantially since Lehmann in 2008. But perhaps 2017/18 was the moment in time when it became evident that this has become a long term embedded trend, and not just a response to low-yielding regulated assets.

The Knight Frank Wealth Report is arguably the most influential of its type and reflective of the behaviours of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

You can download The Wealth Report 2019 here.

The Knight Frank Wealth Report 2019 brings together the latest intelligence and the sharpest insights into the issues that matter most to the world's wealthy.

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67 Pall Mall

Wine Owners implemented a comprehensive wine cellar management and electronic, interactive wine list for the unique London-Based private members club, 67 Pall Mall, founded by and for wine lovers.

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Wine Owners implemented a comprehensive wine cellar management and electronic, interactive wine list for the unique London-Based private members club, 67 Pall Mall, founded by and for wine lovers.

Requirements

  • Deliver a platform to manage the club’s wine inventory including stock taking and reconciliation, integrated with the club’s ePOS.
  • Manage all members’ wines stored within the club, held in their own accounts under their own name.
  • Allow members to order their wines for consumption in the club at once or at any specified future date and time with any special instructions.
  • Provide an information-rich electronic wine list to inform members and help them to navigate 4,000+ wines.
  • Give club sommeliers an instant stock position on bottles and pours away from the EPOS till registers via the electronic wine list.
  • Provide a full inventory management system to control one of the biggest wine list in the world.
  • Grow the wine list via member consignment and provide a back office to support sales off the club wine list.

White label Solution

Higher customer Engagement

Members are more vested in their relationship to the club – which in turn correlates to membership renewal rates. For some storing their own wines in the club is fundamental to the relationship and a strongly perceived value. For others the ‘iPad’ electronic wine list with its search capability through a list of thousands of wines, with a depth of associated educational/ informative content, creates a uniquely empowering member experience.

Secure, trusted member wine storage

The ability to store members’ wines in the Club is a valuable service. With 3,500 members the club required a platform that could handle multiple ownership of wine in different sub-locations in order to effectively manage members wines with the necessary levels of security, traceability, and condition recording required. There is no known EPOS, Club Membership or On-trade system providing this functionality.

Peer-to-peer exchange

Club members are able to participate in a peer to peer exchange, making it easy to buy and sell between each other, as well as the wider Wine Owners exchange community (all of whom have been preapproved for trading rights in an assured market where counter-party security is paramount. All settlement and logistics activities are carried out on behalf of the Club by Wine Owners’ specialist staff.

Buy and sell with collectors

Streamlined processes

67 Pall Mall offers their clients the UK’s biggest wine selection with over 30,000 bottles on-site.

Traceability and fast retrieval of wines from the cellar is the most fundamental part of the club’s operation. We have implemented streamlined processes between sommelier and cellar teams which eliminate miss picks to and delivers ordered wine to members immediately following a request.

First of its kind

67 Pall Mall was a ground-breaking idea that demanded fresh thinking and  world-class inventorying. The 17,000 sq ft building now boasts 30,000 bottles of wine. It is home to 3,500 members, 18 sommeliers, the biggest wine list in the UK and 800 wines by the glass — the most in the world. 

Read more: Solutions for Clubs, institutions and On-trade

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The advent of the Market Network

The vision of a sharing economy is a far-reaching and powerful model that is beginning to shape current business practices by leveraging technology and allowing individuals to act as producers, entrepreneurs, collaborators, financiers and a myriad other roles.

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The vision of a sharing economy is a far-reaching and powerful model that is beginning to shape current business practices by leveraging technology and allowing individuals to act as producers, entrepreneurs, collaborators, financiers and a myriad other roles.

“Marketplaces” provide transactions among multiple buyers and multiple sellers. Amazon and eBay are businesses that were created over the last two decades to enable peer-to-peer transactions. There is no doubting the power of creating an environment where thousands of businesses and millions of individuals can trade with one another.

“Workflow” Software as a Service (SaaS)platforms make it easy to manage and track activities that may be focused on short term or long terms goals, whilst making it very easy for everyone to participate in the marketplace. The integration of workflow and marketplace is what distinguishes them from other marketplaces.

Consider Wine Owners activities’ through the prism of a Workflow Marketplace.

Firstly Wine Owners was conceived as a way of simplifying and simultaneously enriching the ‘wine lives’ of those with a passion for wine through a broad set of structured functionality and market information. This makes research, management and collection tracking substantially easier and less time consuming than before.

Secondly the marketplace or self-directed brokerage/ consignment trading models allows anyone to transact with anyone (even if through a facilitating intermediary that assumes transactional responsibility and risk in certain jurisdictions), in the knowledge that everyone has access to the same information, pricing assumptions, settlement and fulfilment processes. This many-to-many transaction pattern is key. Wine Owners is an N-sided marketplace — transactions happen between any participant, individuals and businesses, experienced and inexperienced alike professional or enthusiast. The pattern of trading counterparties is like a network. That makes Wine Owners both a marketplace and network.

A market network often starts by enhancing a network of professionals or high net worth individuals that exists offline. Many of them have been transacting with each other for years using email, mail, phone calls…dare we say it…even the trunk of a car. By moving these connections and transactions into a SaaS Workflow, a market network makes it significantly easier and more transparent for deals to be done at a price that is optimal for both parties. Oh, and participants get better service.

The Market Network is particularly relevant for complex, high value transactions. In wine, market fragmentation, tax status and specific logistical requirements make a prima facie straightforward commodity rather more complex as a peer-to-peer proposition. A market network, with the requisite ‘glue’, is therefore the ideal model to simplify wine management and trading and so increase transaction velocity, satisfaction and the creating of long-term relationships.

The principles that guide us are: the free flow of information; transparency in pricing and valuation; the ability to be in control of one’s own wine-related activities; the potential to sell excess wine; the creation of shared and accepted ‘rules’ about how to undertake and settle trades.

All of these are important in contributing to an infrastructure where individuals and trade participants can benefit from a market network with confidence; safe in the knowledge they are operating within a sustainable, compliant and fair system.

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How wine tech can help you win new customers and keep them happy (and make you happy too)

Should you be bending software into wine shape?

12 total views, 1 views today